Diamonds – Balls of Bounciness for Windows Phone

Last week Unity released a preview of their new UI tools. Before now it has been an absolute nightmare to do any form of UI without buying expensive plugins. So I was very excited to try it out. I also never got around to playing with the 2D features they added a while back, so I wanted to learn about that.I figured the best way was to just make a game.

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WeatherSA for Windows Phone

It’s that exciting time again when we get to launch another app! This time it is the official Windows Phone app for AfricaWeather:

We currently service over 1.4 million Africans via our website and mobile applications. One of the most unique features is our ability to track storms in real time, as well as provide consumers with an hour’s forewarning of when the storm will hit their suburb. We interpret weather information and make it relevant to your lifestyle. You are able to customise notifications to suite your lifestyle from daily forecasts, storm warnings, news, through to telling you the best time of day to hit the beach or go for a cycle.

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bidorbuy for Windows Phone

After tons of design, development, and testing (and far too many energy drinks), we’ve just published the official bidorbuy app for Windows Phone 8!

Bidorbuy is Africa’s Largest Online Marketplace serving over 1 million users a month, but you likely already knew that.
Over the past few months I’ve been working with their team to build a fully-featured, first class application for Windows Phone that embraces the Windows Phone design style, while adding its own unique brand.

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Cortana as a home-automation assistant

Microsoft’s brand new personal assistant, Cortana, is getting a lot of people excited at the moment. Even though it is in beta, I’ve found it surprisingly good, and already use it for practical reasons daily.

So why not take it a bit further? What about letting her control my lights – because, yes, giving an AI access to deadly electricity is a great idea (no, really, it is).

This uses a Netduino, Bluetooth module, and a normal 240v desk-lamp.

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Microsoft YouthSpark

The Microsoft YouthSpark day was held at the Durban University of technology today in Durban, South Africa.

In the keynote I got to demonstrate a bunch of cool things that Windows Phones can do.
One of the things I showed was just how easy/quick it was to take a picture, “Tap to Share” it to a different phone, and then share it on Twitter. And yes, I did that by taking a selfie on stage Smile

 

(Side note: see the flash on the left? Pivendren took a photo at exactly the same time!)

 

I also demonstrated my app, TapShoot. It allows you to pair two phones together and remotely take a photo. The scenario I presented was taking a photo with my “wife” (yes, that is a woman in the backdrop image).

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Next, fellow Microsoft MVP, Taylor Gibb, and I presented the app development track. We made a simple app that calculates taxi fares to introduce the students to the Windows Phone platform.

One of the prizes was a Windows Phone. At the end of the session we decided to shuffle the eval-forms and pick a random one to decide the winner.
To make things more interesting I had told the students that the draw was for a Nokia bag. Watch the winners face as he realizes he is actually getting a phone Open-mouthed smile.

Nyaladzi Mpofu from Microsoft was there making sure the whole event went smoothly.

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For any Durban students (or non-students), I run a weekly Windows Phone training session called “Phone Fridays” at the Durban University of Technology (who are kind enough to lend us their PC labs!). Taylor Gibb will also be at these to do talks and assist people. If you’re interested please email piven@errornaik.com with the subject line of “PhoneFridays”. (And yes, it is free)

Update: Here is an article in The Witness newspaper today about the event.

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The Internet of Things with the Azure cloud, Netduino, Windows Phone, and lots of other buzzwords

If you haven’t heard, “the cloud” is kind of a big deal right now. Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s slice of it  (with 54% of Fortune 500 companies running on Azure today), and is the reason that when you take a photo on your phone it magically appears on your PC (amongst other things). No one understands the cloud, but we know it is powerful Winking smile.

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At BUILD 2014, Microsoft announced their plan for allowing everything from your teddy bear to your traffic light (because people totally have these) to connect to Azure. And yes, this includes connecting up a full sized traffic light…

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VALA: Alpha goes live!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that quite a while ago we got accepted into AppCampus (seriously, go watch the video that got us into the program) with a game about llama slaughter. We were then invited to Finland for a month-long intensive training camp called AppCademy.

Since then we’ve gone through lots of iterations, scrapped the project multiple times to start from scratch, and had team members change. The core team is now Renier Van Der Westhuizen (who has worked on awesome games like The Harvest for WP7) on art, and myself (Matt Cavanagh) on code. And we’re bringing in a few people here and there to help.

Say hello to Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse: Alpha (VALA: Alpha in the store)!

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